A father charged with systematically starving his four adopted children died Tuesday after suffering a stroke about two weeks ago, a family friend said.

Raymond Jackson (search), 51, was hospitalized Nov. 14 and had been in serious condition.

"I think he would still be alive if it wasn't for what he's been through," said family friend John Romaska, who received a call from Jackson's wife about the death.

Jackson and his wife, Vanessa, 49, were each facing aggravated assault and child endangerment charges stemming from their alleged mistreatment of the boys.

Prosecutors said the couple starved the children for years until one of them was found last year rummaging through a neighbor's trash for food. At the time, Bruce Jackson (search) was 19, stood 4 feet tall and weighed 45 pounds. Authorities found his three adopted brothers were similarly undersized.

The Jacksons denied starving the boys and said they had eating disorders.

"I know Bruce loves us," Raymond Jackson said in an interview published Nov. 15 in New York Magazine. "But sometimes I think about how my life is completely turned around. And it's because he told a lie. He told a lie on me. He told a lie on us."

The Jacksons were due in court in December and a trial was expected sometime next year.

"This isn't the appropriate time to talk about the case or how to proceed," said Bill Shralow, a spokesman for the Camden County (search) prosecutor. "This is a time for Mr. Jackson's family to mourn and his friends to mourn."